Seafood Cocktail, Two Ways

Seafood Cocktail Master Recipe

When it’s hot and sticky outside, no one wants to spend time cooking over a hot stove.

A cool, refreshing seafood cocktail is just right as an easy and elegant appetizer or light main course. Cooking time is minimal and once the basic seafood blend has been prepped, it takes just minutes to finish either variation of this light & flavorful seafood cocktail.

Either version of this recipe is virtually fat-free. Fresh aromatic herbs add a refreshing burst of flavor and, as folks who live in the tropics know, spicy chile peppers stimulate circulation (and perspiration!) to cool the body naturally.

We used prawns, squid and tiny bay scallops, but you can easily substitute any of your favorite shellfish or fin-fish. Try using mussels, crayfish, baby octopus or chunks of firm-fleshed fish like cod or snapper for a different take on this simple seafood dish. The variations are endless – and experimentation is half the fun of cooking.

Master Recipe – Basic Seafood Cocktail

  • 1 fresh chile pepper, serrano or jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 12 large prawns (16 – 20 size)
  • 4 oz bay scallops
  • 1 lb fresh squid (calamari) tubes & tentacles, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 3 medium limes)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Remove the shells from the prawns (if any), leaving the tail intact.  Clean the squid if it hasn’t been cleaned already, removing the internal organs, “quill” and beak. Cut away the head & eyes, leaving the tentacles intact. Slice the tubes crosswise into rings.

Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  The prawns, scallops and squid will cook very quickly; take care not to overcook them or they’ll become tough and rubbery.

First, add the prawns and reduce the heat to low and wait one minute. Now add the squid tentacles and lastly, the bay scallops and squid rings. IMMEDIATELY TURN OFF THE HEAT. Cover the pot and wait for two minutes. Quickly drain the seafood and plunge into the ice water bath until cool.  Drain well and place into a large nonreactive bowl.  Add the diced onion, chile pepper, cilantro, salt and lime juice to the seafood mixture.  Stir well to mix and cover tightly.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Cool Thai Seafood Cocktail

Thai-style Seafood Cocktail

Thai-style Seafood Cocktail

  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce , or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh cayenne pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks

Combine all the above ingredients with half of the seafood mixture.  Serve on a bed of mixed salad greens, if desired, and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Limes and Avocado


Mexican-style Seafood Cocktail (Coctel de Mariscos)

Mexican-style Seafood Cocktail

Mexican-style Seafood Cocktail



  • 8 oz tomato sauce (I like El Pato brand spicy Mexican-style tomato sauce)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 fresh chile pepper, serrano or jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp BLiS Blast (or more, to taste)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Fresh lime wedges

Heat the tomato sauce in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, the chopped garlic and sliced chile pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, stir in the chopped cilantro and allow to cool completely.

Halve the avocado, remove the pit and using a knife, score the flesh into squares and scoop out of the shell.  Combine half of the seafood mixture with the spicy tomato sauce, avocado and 2 Tbsp of BLiS Blast Hot Sauce (or more to taste).

Spoon into cocktail glasses, garnish with a slice of fresh lime and serve with crispy tortilla chips.


Curly Divider


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